We are so thrilled to be supporting 'Poetic Unity', a charity based in Brixton, UK who are seeking to give a voice to the voiceless using poetry as a catalyst for personal growth and social change. 10% of all monies from our current poetry contest will be donated directly to the charity. If you haven't already checked out their website here's a heads up on what they're all about.
Who are they?
'Poetic Unity is a Brixton based charity that provides support and services for young people across the UK. Our vision is to give young people a voice and to empower them to reach their highest potential. We use poetry as a tool to support young people's mental health, education, personal development, physical health, and community cohesion. Founded in 2015, we deliver hundreds of programmes and events every year for the community. Our team has over 10 years’ experience of working with young offenders, marginalised young people, and children at risk. We have seen that creativity is an important tool to assist the next generation and we give young people the opportunity to express themselves and learn in a safe and friendly environment. In the short time we have existed we have supported thousands of young people from Brixton to the world, and we will continue to serve the community for generations to come.'
'Mandem, Let's Talk'
Often young boys struggle to open up about their feelings at fear of being seen as soft among their peers, which can lead to complications with mental illness later in life and its no coincidence that men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women in the UK and worryingly, the rates of suicide among under 25 year olds increased by 23.7% in the UK in 2018. (source, www.Samaritans.org) The Mandem, Lets Talk programme is tailored to help young boys express themselves through poetry, gain a better understanding of mental health and to boost their self-esteem to help them feel comfortable in their own skin. The programme begins with a performance of poetry and a Q&A by our facilitators to a large group of young boys (usually a year group or multiple year groups in a hall) to introduce the programme to them. After the introduction, the following sessions will be delivered with small groups (maximum 15 boys) per session to focus on each individual reaching their goals. The culmination of the programme will see each student perform a poem on mental health.
'Poetry in Motion'
Young people are encouraged to do at least 60 mins of exercise a day but a study by The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health claims that four in five young people aged 11-17 are not doing enough exercise. One of the issues is that young people are not enjoying exercise, Poetry In Motion is tailored to make exercise fun and engaging. This programme encourages young people to say poetic affirmations while they workout, to get the best results physically and mentally. Our trainers help young people enjoy exercise while building their confidence, self-esteem and encouraging the students to say positive things about themselves, as too often young people are quick to put themselves down. Exercises include Jumping Jacks, Tug of War, Relay Race and many more. On this programme we work with a group of up to 30 young people at a time. The culmination of the programme will see each young person compare their results from the beginning of the programme till the end and do a physical test.
'Mental Health Matters'
According to Children’s Society, 10% of children and young people aged 5-16 years old have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently young age. (source, www.MentalHealth.org.uk) The Mental Health Matters programme educates young people on what mental health is, creates a safe environment to open a discussion on the topic and provides young people with the skills to express themselves through writing. The two main topics we discuss on this programme are Anxiety and Depression, as these are common issues young people face daily but find difficult to speak about. We have found poetry to be a powerful tool of expression and on this program young people will be taught how to write and express themselves openly through spoken word. Our facilitators will become mentors to the young people and support their needs throughout the sessions. On this programme we work with 10-15 young people per session to focus on each individual. The culmination of the programme will see each student perform a poem on mental health to their school and to get their poetry published on our website.
'More than Shakespeare'
William Shakespeare, one of the most talented and famous poets and playwrights of all time, remarkably still inspires people with his work to this day. Shakespeare’s work is important and is taught in schools across the UK, with that being said we have been providing workshops at schools since 2015 and have noticed that an important form of poetry is rarely taught at schools and that is ‘Spoken Word’. This art form is focused on performance and is a segue between Poetry and Rap. This art form is easier for young people to digest than conventional poetry because of the language and is more relatable as they have poets that look like and speak like them delivering it. Poetry is More Than Shakespeare and the young people who take part in this programme will certainly benefit from learning how to write and perform spoken word. This program will also boost the confidence and self-esteem of young people. Our facilitators will work with a group of up to 30 students per session. The culmination of the programme will see each student perform poetry to their school.
'Get Started in Spoken Word'
What was the objective?
The Prince’s Trust commissioned us to design a programme that would help them connect with young people during the pandemic. The Get Started In Spoken Word programme was created to help young people use spoken word as an outlet for their mental health and creativity. With all in-person delivery suspended, we had to produce a programme that could be delivered online ending with a final performance and a discussion of the learnings each participant will be looking to take forward.
How did we meet the objective?
We designed a 2 week programme plus 1 month of weekly support sessions led by our founder Ragz-CV. Each session was delivered via Microsoft Teams and scheduled with the needs of the participants in mind. We delivered 4, 6 week programmes between July-December 2020 online via Microsoft Teams which supported 28 young people aged 16-30 years old during lock down.
Why was it successful?
Feedback from participants in the programme has been positive, there was no drop in attendance and it has been the Prince’s Trust most successful virtual programme during the pandemic.
"The programme has challenged me to dig deeper with my writing and write about difficult experiences that affect me today (both past and present.) This improves my mental health as it means I have less on my mind.” Chauntelle, 24 years old
"This course has helped me to identify how I am feeling and given me the space and motivation to try and write this down. This wasn’t easy but I feel I am building the bridge between my head and my heart. It has helped me to find order in chaos and to articulate that.” Graham, 25 years old
We hope you'll join with us in supporting this great charity!
All the best and stay safe!
Kayleigh and Tina